It may fall short in the screenplay department but unfortunately can’t rest on the laurels of acting prowess of it’s cast. The film feels like a dodgy soft porn film in places, especially with the soft focus presentation in the copy I watched it on.
There are moments of discomfort on display in the representation of women through the male gaze, and rapey content. With smarter writing the filmmakers could have leveraged this perspective using what is essentially a cool premised despite being dubbed as ‘silly’ by some critics.
Through mythology, snakes have often been viewed as mystical and deadly creatures that tie in with transformation, healing and immortality. This combined with the sexual ties to both birth and fertility.
Marlene Clark is simply devine as the troubled Lena, a woman who is bitten by a cobra in the Philippines and is given the unique ability of defying age and the ability to transform into a snake in order to take down young men. Clark would go on to define herself in black horror film history the following year in the magnifient Ganja and Hess.
Here though, her presence isn’t enough to lift the weak, predictable script. The subjectification of her character is handled poorly throughout and is unfortunately indicative of the time the film was made.
It’s a shame as the premise was a great one and Hammer productions film The Reptile starring Jacqueline Pearce springs to mind in handling the story element in a far more effective fashion and was released 6 years prior to NotCW. I would love to see this re-envisioned in a modern setting and placing more power in the hands of the snake priestess Lena.
- Saul Muerte